Coriolanus

Coriolanus

Caius Martius ‘Coriolanus’, a revered and feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuses to support him, Coriolanus’s anger prompts a riot that culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius to take his revenge on the city. 3.8 out of 5 based on 22 reviews
Coriolanus

Omniscore:

Certificate 15
Genre Drama, Thriller
Director Ralph Fiennes
Cast Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, James Nesbitt Gerard Butler
Studio Lionsgate Films UK
Release Date January 2012
Running Time
 

Caius Martius ‘Coriolanus’, a revered and feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuses to support him, Coriolanus’s anger prompts a riot that culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius to take his revenge on the city.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

Modernistic mischiefs are right on the money. Shakespeare’s play foresaw the rise of “spin” and the harlot ways of political popularity. To his hero’s scornful, proto-Thatcheresque pride – Coriolanus would surely endorse “There is no such thing as society” – the play’s wise counsel answers, “What is the city but the people?” That line echoes on through the story and the centuries, though it is Shakespeare’s genius – and the triumph of this movie – that we find too a kind of honour, and tragic heroism, in the protagonist’s intransigence.

19/01/2012

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The Observer

Philip French

At once visceral and intelligent, this beautifully acted, vividly staged film brings a powerful, challenging honesty to bear on class, political life and the demands we make on our leaders. It reaches out in many different directions, and in ways that Shakespeare could never have foreseen.

22/01/2012

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The Sunday Times

Cosmo Landesman

What’s thematically interesting, and makes this version so relevant to our time, has little to do with the meaning of war: instead, it relates to the compulsory populism of our politicians. Here is a would-be leader who refuses to pander to the people and is proud of it.

22/01/2012

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Variety

Peter Debruge

Could easily pass for the work of an accomplished master, and though the storytelling lends itself to easy confusion, the emotional impact reads loud and clear. By choosing such a compelling backdrop as Belgrade for his update and then surrounding himself with experts, Fiennes has made the job easy on himself.

14/02/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

Wait till you hear the actors let rip. You’ll understand what draws Fiennes, making his directing debut, to Shakespeare’s play ... it’s the war of words, the fight between ideals.

21/01/2012

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Time Magazine

Richard Corliss

The most vivid screen rethinking of a Shakespeare play since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet 15 years ago.

04/12/2011

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The Times

Kate Muir

You just have to go with the Bard-in- Belgrade flow. I last watched this play at the Globe with dull incomprehension, but its meaning has become clear in Fiennes’s hands.

20/01/2012

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Total Film

Andrew Lowry

Because the play’s so rarely taught or performed, Coriolanus feels like discovering a whole new Shakespeare work. And what’s not to love about that?

06/01/2012

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

The cameo from Channel Four's Jon Snow is a gimmicky misjudgment. It reminded me of Tony Blair's appearance for Comic Relief with Catherine Tate. This is a minor flaw in an extremely smart film.

19/01/2012

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Empire Magazine

Angie Errigo

This is the most political of all Shakespeare’s work and yet again one is thunderstruck at how timeless is a 400 year-old play, how recognisable the thoughts, desires, deeds and flaws of its characters. Like the English teacher said in 10 Things I Hate About You: “For a dead, white dude, Shakespeare knew his shit.”

16/01/2012

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

This is Shakespeare played with total commitment, and whatever the shortcomings of the play itself, no one could accuse this adaptation of lacking relevance. It does, in fact, become more like a prescient lesson to us all.

20/01/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

The pot is kept at a boil pretty much throughout, a level of intensity that at times can be wearing. But Fiennes ultimately knows to play to Shakespeare's greatest strength, that incisive understanding of all the ways that humans so tragically, and predictably, repeat mistakes. In doing so, he has taken Coriolanus from little known to virtually unforgettable.

02/12/2011

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The New York Times

Manohla Dargis

Fiennes has made smart choices here, notably by surrounding himself with a strong secondary cast, and by hiring the cinematographer Barry Ackroyd ... Together they bring this world alive, closing the centuries-long distance between the writing of the play and this interpretation. The language lives, as do the people.

01/12/2011

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

It all adds up to a fairly meaty and entertaining film, one that is mercifully free from the dreaded “vanity project” whiff that can sometimes attend the directorial efforts of respected actors ... [Fiennes] seems to respect both our intelligence as movie goers and our baser cinematic desires – at least enough to know that supplying us with a healthy dose of high culture bathed in blood is a good way of giving us the best of both worlds.

19/01/2012

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

After a shaky start, the debutant director finds his feet, and turns this 400-year-old play into something vivid and compelling.

20/01/2012

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Screen

Lee Marshall

This good-looking, well-cast and finely performed film still makes a worthy addition to the corpus of Shakepeare adaptations, and should perform steadily in prestige arthouse markets, with good prospects for a long shelflife, not least in educational contexts.

14/02/2011

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The New Yorker

Anthony Lane

It is the most oppressive of the great tragedies, and, Macbeth aside, the leanest, and the task that Fiennes has set himself is to liberate it from the theatrical while preserving the dramatic bite. In that, he succeeds, with brio.

23/01/2012

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Sight & Sound

David Jays

Fiennes creates a pitiless world without refuge, where neither the soft nor the unbending can survive.

20/01/2012

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Time Out

Trevor Johnston

Vanessa Redgrave is staggering as Coriolanus’s she-wolf of a mother, Brian Cox effortlessly oleaginous as a scheming politico, and Fiennes is in spittingly intense form. A committed and worthwhile celluloid version of a play so few of us really know.

17/01/2012

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Scotland on Sunday

Siobhan Synnot

Fiennes is unsparing and Cox so reliably good that you know if you hired him as your housesitter, the plants would still be alive a fortnight later. The riskiest casting is Gerard Butler, whose name has yet to be synonymous with “award-winning”. Here, he manages to avoid bumping into the furniture, although it’s a performance so recessive that he’s barely more than a snarl in search of personality.

15/01/2012

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

Other tragic heroes may become monsters, but we remain involved in their struggle. Coriolanus is such a proud, cold-hearted swine that spending more than two hours with him is a long, hard slog.

20/01/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

Fiennes plays Caius as a ranting psycho who sprays spit like a lawn-sprinkler whenever he speaks. If the Romans aren't keen on a man who makes Voldemort seem like a lovable softy, who can blame them?

22/01/2012

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